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Haymarket Square Paperback – February 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Ward Six Press (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984013016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984013012
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,489,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Beautiful, bombastic and brilliant." -Martin Olson author of "Encyclopaedia of Hell"

"John Kolchak is one of a dying breed: a poetic mind of the back-alley variety that Decent Society works hard to ignore into extinction...Kolchak is a thought-criminal after your own heart." - Cintra Wilson

About the Author

John Kolchak is a poet, translator, screenwriter and novelist currently residing in Los Angeles. He is a native of Moscow.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It will make you enjoy and appreciate the book much more.***
Jack Weinstein
After reading this story… It made me look further into those very subjects I had not even thought about before this book.
Shawn Leonhardt
I love the verse style and love the factual snippets that jar is such an appealing way.
d s hills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Classical Singer on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
For those of you following the Pussy Riot saga, here's a chance to get another insight into post-Soviet Russia. Read the glossary before you start the book, to really "get" the references. The book (in verse) brings the reader into a world I imagine Tom Waits inhabiting if he spent time in St. Petersburg. A world that is fascinating, ugly, tremendously foreign (from the perspective of a somewhat sheltered American) and carrying the burden of a history that is more than a little messy. There aren't really any happy endings in a world like this, and that is part of the books power. Highly Recommended for both the subject matter, the illustrations and for Kolchaks audacity to write the whole thing in verse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Swifty on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Haymarket Square is a short novel and a big book brimming with ideas. John Kolchak wrote it in free verse. The first remarkable thing about this device is that scene descriptions and characters' inner thoughts all seem realistic, and the dialog is uncontrived and conversational. More about the verse form later. Haymarket Square tells the story of the hapless Alex Bobrov ("Alex Beaverman") a twenty-something Russian who makes his entrance in the novel emerging from 10 years in prison for the murder of his prostitute girlfriend. He's a free man on the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia in 1993. A free man and a time traveler: his years of confinement were under the sclerotic last years of communism. He's released into a capitalist's wet-dream: a Russia where getting rich is the goal, and there are no limits for the audacious and well-connected. Alex is neither of these, nor is he an educated man. He falls in with a hooker from Finland and has a bout of impotence. He's an angry guy with prejudices, and adapts to a new society whose mechanistic law is screw or get screwed. Though I didn't find Alex a likable character, he does have a core of moral conscience always getting constricted by the hardscrabble fight for existence that is St. Petersburg in 1993. Alex goes from the Finnish prostitute with bad teeth through a series of other hookers. His mind is tortured by thoughts of Ida, the woman he murdered. He hooks up with Kostya, a criminal with big ideas who convinces him to take part in an illegal drug run. Kostya seems to have a sexual longing for Alex, and either from love or hate he messes up Alex's life again and again. Alex gets the worst of the deal, and because he's not very bright he never fully figures out all the ways Kostya has screwed him over.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pat Arnao on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Haymarket Square is a romantic and dirty examination of fate, the need for love, and money; of free market gangsters and anti-heroes struggling for survival in the underbelly of modern Russian culture. Prosaic, overarching and bleak. An absolutely wonderful read.
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Format: Paperback
What would Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment) be like in modern Russia and what would he be like without remorse, or absent of any neuroses or trepidation? These are the questions I asked myself when I read Haymarket Square. Like other John Kolchak work, this is dark, brutal, and raw. It is challenging and does not have many likable characters, but it is certainly worth reading and you'll walk away from it thinking hard about the depths into which people can fall.

I'm impressed by what he tried to do, and it's been a long time since I read a verse narrative. I'm glad I did. I really had no idea how it would end, and this is refreshing in and out itself. More so, I'm really looking forward to what he writes next. This book is full of tremendous potential and he is on the way to becoming a great artist.

****oh, and read the glossary as you read tthe text. Flip back and forth. It will make you enjoy and appreciate the book much more.***
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reviewer on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
BUT not a grand slam due to my lack of understanding regarding some of the basis.

If I had read B. Alexanderplatz perhaps I'd give it 5 stars. Or 3 stars. Regardless, it is now on my list of books to read as I want to know more.

It took me a long time to read the book due to the free verse. I paused frequently and thought. So, as far as a shorter book goes page wise, it took me longer to read than books twice the length which is a plus.

Perhaps I didn't like the strict adherence to free-verse or the physical margins and such of the book regarding the flow of how I read it. At times I got tripped up in the rythym for good or for not so good.

It at least made me think, and is a departure from the drivel of most authors. It's a challenging book to read and mind expanding. I utilized all my I.Q. points figuring out all of the layers and what was going on.

I enjoyed it immensely. Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By d s hills on July 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
So alex walks out of jail , hard labour and freezing temperature have absolved him of his crime, and at least he is free from the crime that haunted him? Well no blinking his eyes in the yellow light to discover the world has changed but the purgatory persists. Glasnost and Yeltsin, Gorbachev and nubile capitalism have spun a new dream for the ex con to walk through. But Russia's past is not easily shaken , the autumnal canabilisum of history tortures Alex in new but old ways. The old life that he tries to shake eats him up bit by bit, each time he brakes free it consumes him again, and s***s him back out where he started. And the analogy is strong that as with Alex , so goes Russia. Well that's the way I read it and since Barthes killed John.
The book flows prettily from the second chapter, maybe that is when I get my eye in or maybe it is johns doing, intentionally or otherwise. But for me I would like the book to start there. I would like the next book to flow prettily all the way through. I love the verse style and love the factual snippets that jar is such an appealing way. You could think of it referencing dostoevsky but maybe miller is a better. Miller had Picasso Paris to play with , but other environments are good, 1980s punk Berlin would do, or any other desperate place. In haymarket square life is scratching it's self. Nobody is starting from a good place, whores and informants scrape a new life. Landlords and crooks but who will make it? We know now that it was those that made it before, that made it in the new world , and they are killing each other off now. The book seems to express all this.
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